June 2006: Halves
After the Sketch
Color Theory, Part 2
Heraldry, Part 2; Color and Fur
by Georgette Tan
Forgiveness, hope and Gubra
Seven years after her unforgettable love story in Sepet, Orked (Sharifah Amani) is married to the much older Arif (Adlin Aman Ramlie). Some early morning water sport in the shower is interrupted by a tearful phone call from Orked's mum Mak Inom (Ida Nerina), informing them, "We think we're losing your father."
Orked and Arif rush over to find Pak Atan (Harith Iskandar) unresponsive, half the family hysterical, and family maid Kak Yam (Adibah Noor) trying to keep it all together. The chaos is almost comedic as they get him to the hospital.
While there, Orked bumps into Jason's older brother Alan (Alan Yun), who recognised her from Jason's photos. His own father had just been hospitalised after "falling" down the stairs. They form a friendship based on their relationship with Jason.
In a secondary story, we are introduced to a muezzin named Pak Bilal Li (Shahili Abdan aka Namron), who lives in a neighborhood surrounded by those who are lost. His manner of reaching out is simply to be non-judgemental and kind. His family is friends with two prostitutes, Temah and Kiah, whose stories also play a major role.
The contrast between them and Orked's family is stark, but both stories dovetail into the same direction: Orked discovers that her husband had been cheating on her, and Temah is diagnosed with a terminal disease.
Gubra (which means "anxiety") starts out light but gets more and more tragic. It doesn't achieve the sobbing misery that was "9 Naga", because director Yasmin Ahmad often shows us the lighter side of the dark cloud without trivialising the whole thing, like the sweetness of Kak Yam's newly found relationship with a hospital attendant, or how Pak Bilal's playful wife enjoys teasing him.
This movie represents the complicated weave of human emotions. It's more serious than Sepet, make no mistake of that. There's also no escaping the gentle social commentary which is a part of every Yasmin film, like the scene where Alan told Orked that living in Malaysia is like loving someone who doesn't love you back.
One might also note that Orked starts the movie in complete physical disarray, and in contrast, is perfectly coiffed and dressed by the end, probably to show how love forgives appearances and how a “mask” is necessary when the love is gone.
The mask cracks, however. In a belated but definite closure to Sepet , Orked breaks down and no doubt, joined by quite a few audience members who’ve seen the previous movie.
My favourite scene is the prayer. One country, three different major religions, three different families, all saying the same thing. Shows that none of us are very different after all.
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